Cowboy Football Notebook

Brandon Weeden has to shine in the new offense that coordinator Dana Holgorsen has brought to Oklahoma State. The 26-year-old has to be sharp, has to lead, and has to stay healthy. Holgorsen and head coach Mike Gundy were both curious what they would see after Weeden was in charge of teaching the offense all summer. Thus far, they have liked what they've seen from Weeden.

"He has improved, and he moved his feet better today," said Gundy.

Holgorsen gave Weeden strong passing grades on retention and he has always been sold on Weeden's throwing ability and decision making, with the latter always having room for improvement.

For Weeden, it is a mutual admiration society as he loves the offense more than ever, especially as the start of the season draws closer.

"I think everybody has really bought into to what Coach Holgorsen and Coach Spavital have brought in here," said Weeden. "They are excited and that is half the battle getting guys excited to go out and run stuff.

"I think the receivers are there, up front (on the offensive line) it takes a little pressure off them and I'm sure they made mistakes but they looked good today. I think it has simplified the game for everybody and lets everybody think less and just go out and react."

Hunter Ready to Attack By Air
Returning All-American running back Kendall Hunter (from 2008) is still expected to be the go-to guy in the Cowboy offense. The mode may be changing as Hunter is expected to make close to half his yards, maybe more after catching passes this season.

An important question, can he catch? "That was a bit of an unknown because he hasn't caught many passes since he has been here but you have a guy with that kind of talent it doesn't surprise me that he can catch the ball," said Holgorsen. "Kendall happens to be a guy that comes natural too. He's as good as I have ever been around."

Head coach Mike Gundy came out of last season's Cotton Bowl admitting that maybe he should have tried to put the ball in Hunter's hands more often. A healthy Hunter is where Gundy wants the ball to go this season.

"It's exciting to have him out there, and the ability that he shows, and the future he gives us when he has the ball in his hands," said the head coach.

Still Not a Morning Person
With practice starting at 9 a.m. and players and coaches hitting the field for pre-practice at 8:30, meetings begin at 7:15 a.m. All of that is early for new offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen, who said this earlier that he wasn't a morning person.

"No, but I understand why we are doing it that way," said the offensive coordinator a few days ago. "I've never done it that way before so it is going to be a new experience for me."

Asked this morning for an update on the start time? "I know that I am not liking it around 6 a.m.," said Holgorsen walking off the field on Saturday.

NFL Films Relived
Last season had to seem strange for Cowboys running back Jeremy Smith. In his first extensive playing time the freshman stepped out in the Grambling State game to rush for 160 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries, almost all in the second half.

By Tuesday of that next week, an old shoulder injury had been aggravated and his season was over becoming a medical redshirt. In the spring, Smith began wondering about staying in football or going home to friends. He fought through the feeling, finished strong in the spring, and says now he is ready to get after it.

"I am really ready to go and I am getting focused," said Smith, now a redshirt freshman but one that averages 10.7 yards a carry as a college running back. "My coaches are talking to me and I am just mentally ready to get going with this season."

Smith and fellow Tulsa Union product Tracy Moore were featured quite heavily as sophomores at Union in the NFL Films production of the Union-Jenks rivalry. I saw it for the first time this summer and had to ask Smith what it was like to have been featured by NFL Films and have that feature regularly televised on the NFL Network?

"That was a great experience. Tracy (Moore) and I grew up together and just to get the opportunity to be a part of that was a great experience," said Smith. "I just thank the NFL Network for giving us that opportunity. I have it on DVD."

Okay, so how often do you watch it? "I watch it, I watch it almost all the time," said Smith grinning.

Martin Eager for Huge Season
Last season Markelle Martin had to deal with close friend and fellow safety Victor Johnson tearing up his knee and missing the rest of the season. Martin said he bucked up and played for two.

Now as his junior season starts, Johnson is sidelined right now by off the field trouble. Martin is bucking up again. He was a leader all summer and is the unquestioned leader going into this season.

"He played very well and this should be a good year for him because he has experience, has a lot of plays under his belt and he should be a good leader for us," said Gundy.

Martin agrees with his head coach. "I kind of feel the same way, but the defense alone is so comfortable with me and we are talking and communicating better than ever before," said Martin. "There is more talking and that has a lot with me being comfortable and yes, I think that will make this a better season."

Martin is also hearing his defensive coordinator Bill Young, who hasn't flashed many smiles yet. Young feels the defense has lots of room to improve after two days of practice.

"We always have room to improve and we have just put in base defense and until we get that perfect we need to keep improving."


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